Iranian Animation Wins the Best Prize in Italy

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Compiled By: Firouzeh Mirrazavi
Deputy Editor of Iran Review

*'Scarecrow's Heart' wins Italian hearts

Iranian short animation 'Scarecrow's Heart', by Behzad Kazzazi, won the Best Short Animation prize in Italy's Antonio Ricci Festival.

Director of the short animation posted his video message online featuring the award ceremony. In the message, Kazzazi expressed thanks to the panel of jury for recognizing his short animation as worthy of the award among a host of other animations, reported.

He believed that throughout history, despite the domination of military leaders and despots, artists had won the hearts and minds of the public through artistic creation which helped mutual understanding among nations and a demonstration of sympathy in times of difficulty and misery.

"Art provides an opportunity for people of different races and ethnicities to cast aside prejudices and talk about their views of life and universe and cherish universal human values," Kazzazi told in the online video.

"Movies are source of honor and glory, since they create a society where all people live in symbiosis through mutual respect of diversity and plurality of cultures and beliefs."

'Scarecrow's Heart' was earlier screened in Dutch Animation Festival, Bucharest NexT International Film Festival, Romania, and the non-competitive section of Children Animation and TV Film Festival in Italy.

The 17th Antonio Ricci Festival was held in Ravenna, Italy between April 27 and 30.

Formerly held under the title 'Short Dreams', the festival changed to the current form after the death of its young collaborator and organizer Antonio Ricci.

 A short film of Iranian director, Darabi, was also awarded by the audience of the 17th International Short Film Festival “Corti da Sogni - Antonio Ricci”.

Alamak a short film of Hosein Darabi from Iran vied at the Sweet Dreams section of the Corti da Sogni festival of short films in Italy. The section is open to the best non-European works. In competition with 14 other works from Palestine, Canada, India, Iraq, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Mexico, and South Korea, Alamak won the Creativity shorted which is the prize awarded to the work picked by the audience of the festival.

Alamak was produced by Howzeh Honari, an art subdivision of Islamic Development Organization of Iran.

*Iranian Documentary Nominated for French Award

Iranian short documentary 'Warp Winding' directed by Ahmad Seyyed-Keshmiri and produced by Afsaneh Heidari, has been nominated for the Best Foreign Language Documentary Award at the International Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema in the southern French city of Nice.

The documentary recalls the story of men and women who fail to recognize their weaknesses and wrong habits and fight with the sick part of their soul. The festival is scheduled for May 7-13, IRNA reported.

Held just a few days before the Cannes International Film Festival in May, the event is one of the greatest festivals in the world to help filmmakers find a market to support their aims with people attending that can give good solid advice to work with established film industry professionals.

*'Survival' fights and wins Stockholm film award

Iranian short film 'Survival', directed by Masoud Hatami, won the Best Experimental Award at the Stockholm Experimental and Animation Film Festival, (SEAFF).

Produced by Tehran Young Cinema Society, 'Struggle' competed for the award with films from Spain, the US, Turkey, Sweden, Britain, France, Russia and Qatar, IRNA reported.

Earlier, at the 32nd Tehran International Short Film Festival, it won the Best Director Statuette at the Experimental Short Films section, Special Jury Prize in the international section and Art and Experience Award.

The flick focuses on humanitarian aspects of people and is entertaining.

SEAFF presents highly recognized artists and directors from the international scene as well as new and emerging independent artists and storytellers. The purpose and goal of SEAFF is to draw attention to filmmakers who through their versatility, artistic originality and creativity leave a unique impression on the art of film.

This year, the festival's guest of honor, Marcin Gizycki, was an art and film historian, critic and filmmaker.

Gizycki has made a number of documentary, experimental, and animated films. He was also the chief editor of 'Animafilm' magazine (1979-81). He served as the senior lecturer at Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, USA (since 1988), Artistic Director of 'Animator' International Animated Film Festival in Poznan, Poland (since 2007). He co-curated retrospectives of Polish animated films at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (2003) and Centre Pompidou in Paris (2004).

*Iranian film awarded by Lebanese film festival

Kaveh Ebrahimpour’s ‘Yahya Didn’t Keep Quiet’ has won Best Long Fiction award in Tripoli Film Festival 2016 in Lebanon.
The Festival, held April 20-28, hosted the Iranian fiction in competition section. ‘Yahya Didn’t Keep Quiet’ had already been screened in Chicago Festival and Bangalore Film Festival in India before experiencing the silver screen in Toronto’s York University in Canada.

The film also appeared in the 33rd Fajr Film Festival and was screened in ‘Art and Experience’ section in August 2015 and draw a standing ovation from the audience.

‘Yahya Didn't Keep Quiet’ recounts the story of a seven-year-old Yahya being looked after by his aunt while his dad is away. A strange aunt with a life full of secrets and a controversial reputation. As Yahya adapts to this new, mysterious world he also sets out to seek the meaning of life, an adventure that will cost him big.

Fatemeh Motamed Aria, Mahan Nasiri, Neda Jabraeili, Touraj Mansouri, Rabe’eh Oskouei, Alireza Mohammadi, Maryam Shirazi and Saleh Mirza Aghaei are among the cast. 

*Iranian Photographer Wins Top Prize at Sony Contest

Iranian photojournalist Asghar Khamseh has won the title of L’Iris d’Or at 2016 Sony World Photography Awards in London.

Iran’s Asghar Khamseh, who also works for Mehr News Agency, has been named L’Iris d’Or or Photographer of the Year at Sony World Photography Awards in London for powerful portraits of acid attack victims.

Attracting more than 230,000 photos from 184 countries, the 2016 edition of the event introduced fourteen professional category winners and finalists on Thursday April 21 during the inauguration ceremony of an exhibition at London’s Somerset House.

The Honorary Judging Committee has selected Iranian photojournalist Asghar Khamseh as the recipient of the most coveted prize, the L’Iris d’Or Professional Photographer of the Year while Kei Nomiyama of Japan won Open Photographer of the Year.

Khamseh’s collection also won the Contemporary Issues category while Japan’s Kei Nomiyama came out on top as Open Photographer of the Year with her stunning photograph, ‘Enchanted Bamboo Forest’.

The Sony World Photography Awards has five competitions: Professional, Open, Youth, Student Focus as well as National Award.

Iran’s Sepehr Jamshidi who had submitted a single shot of Lake Urmia was placed among the three finalists at the Youth section though an American photographer won the main prize of the competition.

The Professional comprised 14 categories and was judged on a series of images aiming at serious photographers while the Youth competition offered 3 categories for photographers aged 12-19.

In addition to cash prizes worth 30,000 US dollars for the overall Professional and Open Photographers of the Year, category winners also receive the latest digital imaging equipment from Sony.

All the winning images will be part of the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at Somerset House, London from 22nd April - 8th May and will be published in the annual Sony World Photography Awards book.

*UN honors Iranian artist

The United Nations honored Iran’s Kazem Bokaei for his poster designed for United Nations Disarmament Poster Contest.

Three winners as well as nine honorable mentions were recently announced by the UN Poster for Peace Contest, Mehr News Agency wrote.

The competition was sponsored by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the first UN General Assembly resolution, which established the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction.

The contest aimed to raise awareness of the need for nuclear disarmament and to inspire citizens across the globe to add their voices, and use their artistic talents, to promote a world free of nuclear weapons.

Bokaei’s poster was among nine posters honored by the juries of the competition.

*Iranian house design wins A' Design Award 2015

Orsi Khaneh Residential Apartment designed by Nima Keivani has been chosen as Bronze A' Design Award Winner for Architecture, Building and Structure Design Category in 2015.

Nima Keivani’s design, which bore a novel idea to modernize a traditional architectural element (Orsi window), has won the Bronze Award in the Worlds' largest annual juried design competition that honors best designers, architects, and design oriented companies worldwide to provide them publicity, fame and recognition.

The building was designed in June 2013 in Tehran and the construction works finished in September 2015.

*'Oblivion Season' starts spring with US award

Iranian feature narrative film 'Oblivion Season', directed by Abbas Rafei, received ARFF Best Feature Film Award at the Around Films International Film Festival (ARFF) in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the US.

The 93-min feature narrative film competed with films from the US, Russia, Germany, Argentina and France for the coveted award, reported IRNA.

Rafei's award winning 'Oblivion Season' is about a woman with a troubled past who begins a new life by marrying her loved one but leaving the shadow of her dark past is not as easy as it seemed. Now she is the prisoner of her loved one and to earn her freedom she should fight with the masculine society.

'Oblivion Season' has participated in and won many trophies at numerous international events including US Buffalo Film Festival, Chicago Asian Films Festival, and Montréal, International Film Festival, Rahway International Film Festival, Afghanistan International Women Film Festival and Brasov International Film Festival (BRIFF), to name just a few.

*Iranian illustrator awarded at Sharjah Exhibition

The fifth edition of the Sharjah Exhibition for Children's Book Illustrations, honored the illustrator winners.

Scooping the honorable mention prizes of $1,000 was Iranian illustrator Fereshteh Najafi for her work Golabtoon and The White Horse.

The event which was held as a part of the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF), took place from 20th to 30th April, 2016, at the Expo Centre in Sharjah, UAE.

Taking place over 11 days until April 30, SCRF 2016 hosted 1,518 cultural, educational, arts and entertainment events and saw the participation of 130 publishers from 15 countries.

Illustrators Valentina Piacenza from Italy and Jesus Cisneros from Spain were the two other winners of the honourable mention prizes of $1,000.

*US award added to prizes pouring on ‘Rainy Night’

Acclaimed Iranian short film 'The Story of a Rainy Night' by Mehdi Fard Qaderi won the Award for Best Cinematography at Atlas International Film GmbH.

The flick (2014) has so far won a number of awards at international events, including the Best Short Film category of San Pedro International Film Festival in Los Angeles, the Best Short Film award in the US Hollywood Festival of New Cinema and Ohio's Colony Film Festival, the Best Short Film Award of the 9th Annual Colony Film Festival in Marietta, Ohio, Mehr News Agency reported.

Produced by Youth Cinema Association, the 24-minute film narrates the story of an old man's birthday which affected by the arrival of his family.

Atlas International Film GmbH operates as an independent sales company for entertainment programming. The company involves in licensing feature films, series, and documentaries for various media.

It has a library of action, drama, horror, comedy, erotic, classic and cult, children, and special interest titles.

*Iranian Qur'an reciter wins top Jordan award

Iranian Sama Babaei, a visually-impaired memorizer of the entire Qur'an, won the first award at the 11th international Qur'an competition in Jordan.

Babaei, who is from Tehran, had earlier received the first prize at the memorization of the entire Qur'an category in the final stage the Islamic Republic of Iran's 38th National Qur'an Memorization Contest.

The event is organized annually by Jordan's Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Ministry with the participation of Qur'an memorizers and reciters from other countries.

The women's category of this year's contest was held from April 9 to 14 while the men section is scheduled to start on June 25.
Mahmoud Babakhan will be Iran's representative in the men's category of the Jordanian event.

Last year, Iran's Hajar Mehralian came fifth in the memorization of the entire Qur'an in the women's category of the 10th edition.

*Iran's 'Starless Dreams' fulfilled in US

Iranian documentary film 'Starless Dreams' by Mehrdad Oskouei was awarded the Special Jury Award of the main awards at the US 19th annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival which took place from April 7-10.

The flick also received the Inspiring Film Award of the same festival, ISNA wrote.

The product is the last part of a documentary trilogy, with 'Days Without Calendar' as the first and 'The Last Days of Winter' as the second.
Oskouei said the production of the film is inspired by a question about teenage girls in rehabilitation centers. 

The causes of crimes amongst teenagers has been a concern for the director and 'Starless Dreams' is an answer on these concerns, telling the story of the lives of seven teenage girls in a rehabilitation center in Tehran. 

The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is an annual international event dedicated to the theatrical exhibition of nonfiction cinema. Each spring, Full Frame welcomes filmmakers and film lovers from around the world to historic downtown Durham, North Carolina, for a four-day, morning-to-midnight array of nearly 100 films, as well as discussions, panels, and Southern hospitality. Set within a few city blocks, the intimate festival landscape fosters community and conversation among filmmakers, film professionals, and the public.

Full Frame serves the documentary form and its community by showcasing the contemporary work of established and emerging filmmakers. The festival provides a space that nurtures conversation between artists, students, and the Full Frame audience. Full Frame is committed to enhancing public understanding and appreciation of the art form and its significance, while making films more accessible to a broader audience.

*‘Blue Eyed Boy’ wins Best Prize at GSFF

Amir Masoud Soheili’s short film ‘Blue Eyed Boy’ won the Best Prize of 14th annual Garden State Film Festival.

Directed by Amir Masoud Soheili, Blue Eyed Boy has greatly impressed world film critics during its some 30 screenings at international festivals and winning the grand prize in Mirlift international short film festival in Morocco, best film in world auteur short film festival in India and in top 10 list of Beinten International Film Festival of Russia.

Blue Eyed Boy narrates the story of a young boy with unusual color blindness which causes him to see the world in blue. When medical treatment fails to help, his parents take him to a local shaman for remedy.

The Garden State Film Festival is an event in the United States held in Atlantic City, New Jersey which showcases over 150 independent films annually over four days each spring.

*“Mr. Violet” praised at Canadian festival

Mr. Violet”, a three-minute animated movie from Iran, has won the Most Innovative Honorable Mention of the junior jury at the Reel 2 Real International Film Festival for Youth.

The movie co-directed by Jalali-Yekta and Mohammad-Hojjat Azampur received the honorable mention at beginning of the eight-day festival.

The animation is about Mr. Violet, who lives in a mug in a busy cafe. His life is boring and full of lonely feelings, but the dull routine gets stirred up when life takes a turn for the romantic.

The movie is also competing in the TIFF Kids International Film Festival, which is currently underway in Toronto.

*‘Ranna’s Silence’ given accolade in Irish Silk Road Fest.

Behzad Rafiei’s ‘Ranna’s Silence’ has won the Best Children’s Film Award in Silk Road Film Festival in Dublin, Irish Republic.

The following is a review of the film by Michael Lee, which is adopted here in courtesy of Michael Lee and the official website of the festival, accessed here.

“Living high in the hills of Northern Iran, scarf veiled protectively around her head, and a bright pink floral dress from head to toe, seven year old Ranna tightly hugs her pet hen, Kakoli. She obsessively worries about the health of her feathered friend. But then again maybe she’s right to be worried.  I mean Kakoli hasn’t laid an egg in days. Maybe she’ll never lay an egg again. And that would be a tragedy. Because what’s a hen to do but lay eggs. A life without egg laying would be sheer misery for a hen. Ranna empathizes deeply with Kakoli’s singular plight. She preaches, nags, and weeps her poor little heart out to her parents about her beloved Hens egg laying deficiency. Finally, driven half around the bend by an onslaught of constant nagging, they concede, and Ranna brings her hen to the Vet.”

“Of course the Vet assures Ranna, Kakoli’s egg laying days are far from over, and gives Ranna medicine for the hen. Once the hen gets the medicine it’ll be laying eggs like there’s no tomorrow from where the sun don’t shine. At least that’s essentially what the vet says. But that night in the wilds of a lighting storm, as rain thrashes against the tin shingles and window panes, ringing eardrums, Ranna’s feathered friend is locked up in a coop outside. In the aftermath of the storm, in the clearing fresh of morning light, a Jackal appears to have taken Kakoli from her coop. Ranna is left in absolute despair at her hen’s disappearance and undergoes something akin to an existential crises.  Ranna falls into an unshakeable silence, refusing to speak.  Of course things aren’t quite so clear cut as they initially seem, and from here on out the narrative tension balloons and something of a mystery unfolds.”

“Behzad Rafi’ee’s versatile direction brings a genuine sense of allure and childlike nativity, to the world of the story. We’re ingratiated into a child’s experience of this environment in northern Iran, with a carefully measured balance of comedy and drama. There’s an understated simplicity to the visual approach which aids the story with masterful subtly.”

*Italian festival to spotlight actress Fatemeh Motamed-Arya

Renowned Iranian actress Fatemeh Motamed-Arya will be a special guest at the 7th Middle East Now, a film festival that will be held in the Italian city of Florence from April 5 to 10.

The organizers plan to highlight her career, which spans over three decades, by screening her films “Tales” and “The Blue-Veiled”, both by filmmaker Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, and “Once Upon a Time, Cinema”.

The festival will also screen three Iranian films, including documentarian Mehrdad Oskouei’s “Daybreak Dreams”, which won the Amnesty International Award at the Berlin Film Festival in February.

In addition, director Reza Dormishian’s social drama “Lanturi” and Mahtab Mansur’s documentary “Talk Radio Tehran” will compete at the event.

Middle East Now is scheduled to screen 44 films, documentaries, animations and short films - mostly Italian and European premières - forming a powerful cinematographic journey through Middle-Eastern countries and society.

The festival under the auspices of the cultural association, Map of Creation, will take place at the Odeon Cinema, the Stensen Cinema and several other cultural venues in Florence.

*Japan filmfest honors “Lonely Lake”

The Iranian documentary “Lonely Lake” was honored at the 3rd Green Image Film Festival in Tokyo.

Directed by Mohammad Ehsani, the documentary won one of nine Green Image Awards presented at the festival, which was held from March 23 to 25.

“Lonely Lake” turns the spotlight on the shrinkage of Lake Urmia located in northwest Iran.

Among the other winners of the award were “Millets Back Home” directed by Sayun Simug from Taiwan, “Passage of Jomon and Pakur” by Mizumoto Hiroyuki from Japan, “Sticks and Stones” by Isaac King from Canada and “Wishing Well” by Julia Finkernagel from Germany.  

The Green Image Grand Prize went to director and producer Yamada Toru from Japan for the 92-minute “Fukushima Fishermen”.  

“One Million Steps” by Eva Stotz from Turkey and “The Last Moose of Ao Lu Gu Ya” by Gu Tao from China won the Jurors’ Special Prize.

21 documentaries out of 175 submissions from 39 countries were screened during the festival, which aims to broaden awareness about environmental issues.

*Iranian artist wins Emerging Artist Award

Iran’s contemporary artist has received the International Emerging Artist Award in Painting & Mix Media category.

Nasser Palangi, the Iranian artist who lives in Australia, has been rewarded at the fourth edition of the International Emerging Artist Award in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Palangi’s 100x180cm collection entitled as ‘Forgotten Heritage’ will be presented at the World Art Dubai 2016 which will showcase an impressive artwork collection of more than 3,000 paintings, prints, sculptures and photographs from April 6-9.

Winners of the 4th International Emerging Artist Award where 350 candidates from over 80 countries have been shortlisted for the 2016 edition across 4 award categories will be awarded at the VIP opening of World Art Dubai on Wednesday April 6th at 8pm.

Born in Hamedan, Iran in 1957, Nasser Palangi graduated with a degree in visual arts from Tehran University in 1984 before going on to pursue his studies in painting and art education in Tehran until 1989.

Palangi’s works, both in subject and form, reflect his travels over the past three decades as he has traveled throughout Iran and the Middle East, photographing sites that represent important political, social and cultural events and exploring issues in contemporary Middle East history though photography, painting and de-collage.

Source: Tehran TimesPress TV, ISNA, Iran Daily, Mehr News, IRNA